Fes­ti­val trig­gers nos­tal­gia

‘Com­ing home’ searched on WeChat over 112m times

Global Times - - Front Page - By Li Ruo­han

As Spring Fes­ti­val, the most im­por­tant fes­ti­val for Chi­nese, ap­proaches, emo­tions as­so­ci­ated with “com­ing home” dom­i­nate the coun­try’s so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

The phrase was searched or men­tioned in ar­ti­cles on WeChat more than 112 mil­lion times on Tues­day. From Fe­bru­ary 5 to Sun­day, more than 787,000 Sina Weibo mes­sages con­tain­ing the phrase were posted.

Spring Fes­ti­val, or Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year, falls on Fri­day this year.

Phrases like “look­ing for­ward to,” “happy,” “fam­ily” and “re­union” were also among the most fre­quently men­tioned words on Sina Weibo dur­ing the past week.

The joy­ous mood is felt stronger with new ways to con­tinue Spring Fes­ti­val cus­toms and tra­di­tion. The most pop­u­lar one is of­fer­ing hong­bao, or red en­velopes con­tain­ing money, to friends and fam­ily mem­bers.

An­other cus­tom, writ­ing chun­lian, or Spring Fes­ti­val cou­plets, has also been re­worked. Ten­cent AI Lab has launched a ser­vice to write a chun­lian that be­gins with two words pro­vided by users.

Also trend­ing on so­cial me­dia are tips on how to an­swer fre­quently asked ques­tions from fam­ily mem­bers who some peo­ple meet only once a year, such as “Are you still sin­gle?” “With­out child? and “Why?”

In China, the week-long Spring Fes­ti­val hol­i­day starts on Thurs­day, dur­ing which fam­ily gath­er­ings, meet­ing friends and at­tend­ing ban­quets are com­mon.

The page of “tips to sur­vive Spring Fes­ti­val” has been viewed more than 65 mil­lion times on knowl­edge-shar­ing site Zhihu.

Dur­ing the hol­i­days, cities across China will gen­er­ally wit­ness good air qual­ity while shoot­ing off fire­works might be the pri­mary cause of air pollution, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease sent by the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion on Tues­day.

“Chi­nese peo­ple’s way of

cel­e­brat­ing the fes­ti­val has changed from a car­ni­val rit­ual to a more re­strained and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly man­ner, due to life­style changes and con­cerns over pollution,” Zhang Yiwu, a pro­fes­sor of Chi­nese lit­er­a­ture at Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity, told the Global Times.

Mad rush

Nearly 2.98 bil­lion trips are ex­pected to be made dur­ing the chun­yun, or Spring Fes­ti­val travel rush, and hun­dreds of thou­sands of Chi­nese, mostly mi­grant work­ers, will go home on mo­tor­cy­cles.

For those work­ers, rid­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle is more con­ve­nient than tak­ing a bus or train as they mostly live in small vil­lages where pub­lic trans­porta­tion is not al­ways easy to come by.

Work­ers on mo­tor­cy­cles usu­ally head for South China’s Guang­dong Prov­ince, Guangxi Zhuang Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion, Cen­tral China’s Hu­nan Prov­ince, and East China’s Jiangxi and Fu­jian prov­inces, the Bei­jing-based Eco­nomic Ob­server re­ported Satur­day.

This year will be the fourth time Qi Jix­i­ang, a 30-year-old man from Guangxi’s Hezhou city, chose to ride his mo­tor­cy­cle dur­ing chun­yun.

“It costs less, and I feel freer,” he told the Global Times.

The trip from Guangzhou to his home­town will take 10 hours and cost around 100 yuan by mo­tor­cy­cle, while a bus trip will cost four times more. A high-speed train ride only costs 80 yuan and takes 90 min­utes. How­ever, the tick­ets were sold out soon af­ter they were made avail­able.

“I hes­i­tated com­ing home, fear­ing my life might dis­ap­point my el­der par­ents, How­ever, ev­ery­body in my fam­ily are back home and it felt like some­thing was miss­ing when I was alone else­where,” Qi said.

Chi­nese study­ing or liv­ing over­seas are also plan­ning cel­e­bra­tions that started last week. One of the first to open was the “New Era, New Jour­ney” Spring Fes­ti­val Gala on Thurs­day in Lon­don, or­ga­nized by the lo­cal stu­dent as­so­ci­a­tion and sup­ported by the Chi­nese em­bassy in the UK, the Xinhua News Agency re­ported.

Around 380 mil­lion do­mes­tic trips are ex­pected dur­ing the week-long hol­i­days, ac­cord­ing to the China Na­tional Tourism Bu­reau. The top three do­mes­tic des­ti­na­tions are Hainan, Bei­jing and North­east cities, while the top three over­seas des­ti­na­tions are mostly in South­east Asia.

As one of the most in­flu­en­tial fes­ti­vals in the world, Chi­nese New Year cel­e­bra­tions will also be held in more than 400 cities in over 130 coun­tries and re­gions, ac­cord­ing to the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice.

Photo: AP

A ven­dor sell­ing Lu­nar New Year dec­o­ra­tions waits for cus­tomers at a whole­sale mar­ket in Bei­jing, Tues­day. Chi­nese world­wide are pre­par­ing to cel­e­brate the Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year on Fri­day with fam­ily re­unions, fire­crack­ers, and tra­di­tional food as they wel­come the Year of the Dog.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.